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The Argus (Melbourne, Victoria, Australia)

Reports of recruitment in Victoria for the Marquis of Tullibardine
Scottish Horse cavalry regiment for service in the Anglo-Boer War

8th January 1901


      Lieut.-Colonel A. M. Creagh, late of the Black Watch, writing with reference to the corps being raised by the Marquis of Tullibardine for service in South Africa, to be known as the Scottish Horse, asks, in view of the lack of support by the Victorian Government, that the 73 volunteers from the colony should attend a meeting of Scotchmen to consider the situation. The object of the meeting will be to arrange to finally approach the Government, and failing assistance from that quarter, to consider the advisability of communicating direct with the Marquis of Tullibardine, offering their services if his lordship will arrange transport, &c. The meeting will be held at Phair's Hotel, Collins- street, to-morrrow evening, at 8 o'clock.

9th January 1901


      The meeting of Scotsmen willing to enlist in the Marguis of Tullibardine's Regiment for South Africa, which was to have been held at Phair's Hotel to-night, has been cancelled. All who are anxious to volunteer, however, are asked to write to Mr. D. Ferguson, at the Victoria Coffee Palace.

10th January 1901


      The meeting of Scotsmen desirous of joining the Scottish force in Johannesburg being raised by the Marquis of Tullibardine will be held positively next Tuesday evening, at Phair's Hotel. The meeting advertised for last night was cancelled by advertisment enamating from Mr. D. Ferguson, Victoria Coffee Palace, who acted without any authority from its convener, Colonel Creagh. Colonel Creagh, formerly of the Black Watch, has already some 50 or 60 enquires from probable volunteers. He is in communication with Mr. M. McCulloch, the Minister for Defence, who has telegraphed Sir Alfred Milner on the subject, and is expecting that the reply will be available by Tuesday next to place before the meeting. Meanwhile, Colonel Creagh will be glad to hear from intending volunteers at Hopetoun-chambers, Elizabeth-street.

12th January 1901


      In reply to the numerous applications by letter, it is notified by Colonel Creagh that the names have been registered, but as it is impossible to reply to all these communications by letter it is requested that, where ommitted, the particulars as to occupation, age, and if married or single should be forwared as soon as possible. It is further desirable for those applicants by letter residing in the city or suburbs, and who can do so, to present themselves at the office Hopetoun-chambers, Elizabeth-street, as early as possible. As the names of candidates are coming in rapidly, it would be advisable for those living in the country to apply by letter at once.

15th January 1901


      A meeting will be held this evening at 8 o'clock at Phair's Hotel, in connection with the enrolement of a local branch of the Marquis of Tullibardine's Horse for service in South africa. Colonel Creagh will preside.

16th January 1901


      In response to an invitation to attend a meeting for the consideration of the proposal of the Marquis of Tullibardine to form a regiment of Scottish Horse for service in South Africa, about 300 persons assembled at Phair's Hotel last evening. The project has been taken up with enthusiasm. The Marquis of Tullibardine, under the authority of the imperial government, has set himself to raise a force of 1,000 men, Scottish born or of Scottish descent, of whom 150 from Australia will be set as scouts. Already 250 applications have been sent in from Victorian residents, and, as the other states do not intend to participate, it is expected that the force will be raised entirely in Victoria.
      Colonel Creagh, late of the Black Watch, who presided last night, explained that there was evidently a great need for more men in South Africa. In a Natal paper of December 7 no fewer than nine of the South African regiments were advertising for recruits at wages ranging from 5/ to 8/ per day, according to the period of service, and one of them put forward the tempting inducement of plentiful rations, including pickles and milk - (laughter) - when procurable (more laughter). To all intents and purposes the Australian section of the corps would be raised under similar conditions as Cameron's Scouts were. The men would be paid by the Imperial Government, probably at the rate of 5/ per day and rations. After passing the medical examinations and shooting and riding tests they would be sworn in by the Defence department, and without going into camp here be shipped to Durban, where they would be equipped. The length of service would probably be for one year. The first choice would be from the Scottish-born and men of Scottish descent, but he was not able to say, until the Government officially recognised the corps, who would select the men. He proposed therefore, that a deputation should be appointed to lay the matter before the Minister of Defence who was personally very favourably inclined towards the movement, but his colleagues were "not very sweet on it", and ask that Government assistance should be given in selecting the men and in arranging the transport.
      A dramatic incident happened during the ensuing discussion. Mr. Alexander Stewart, an ex-private in the Black Watch discovered that Colonel Creagh was a captain in the famous regiment when he served in the ranks in South Africa. That was in 1870. Officer and private had forgotten each other, until Mr. Stewart, remembering a striking feature of the colonel's hands recognised his old officer. Proudly placing his honourable discharge in front of the colonel, the two cordially shook hands, while the interested spectators, mostly young men, applauded vigorously the reunion of the old campaigners. Mr. Campbell Johnston, having fought in the Basuto and Zulu wars, Mr. Spence, an old resident of South Africa, and Trooper Baker, of the first West Australian contingent, gave a quantity of useful information bearing on campaigning in South Africa.
      Some trouble was experienced in forming the deputation suggested by the chairman. Some names not bearing a Caledonian flavour being suggested, several speakers protested that only gentlemen having a typical Scottish name and unmistakable Scottish accent were likely to have any weight with Mr. McCullock, the Minister for Defence, but ultimately the following gentlemen, who were all said to be of Scottish descent, were appointed - Messrs. S. W. Shackell, Blannin K. Caryle, Trooper Baker, I. Small, Thompson Kirk and Colonel Creagh. It was also decided to send a cable message to the Marguis of Tullibardine informing him that Victoria is ready to send 200 men if necessary, and asking him to arrange about a transport.
      In reply to a question, the chairman said that Mr. D. Ferguson, who had invited applications for the corps, had not been authorised by him to receive any.
      A Voice - I understand Mr. Ferguson handed the names he received to Major Parnell at the barracks.
      The chairman said the defence department know nothing about it. If those men who had applied to Mr. Ferguson renewed their applications to him Colonel Creagh they would be accepted.
      A number of those present reapplied as suggested. Others may communicate with Colonel Creagh at Hopetoun-chambers, Elizabeth-street.


19th January 1901


      Sir, - Some days ago Lieut. Colonel Creagh called upon me with reference to obtaining volunteers for the Marquis of Tullibardine's Scottish Horse. I retrained from taking any action, and have not attended any of the meetings that have been held.
      The matter having now been brought before me officially as president of the Caledonian Society, I feel at liberty to express publicly the views on this question held by myself and many other Scotchmen.
      As a citizen and Scotchman I join with all classes of the community in desiring to render every possible aid to the mother country in stamping out the rebellion in South Africa, but I feel strongly that we should do so through the regular channels, and not encourage our men to volunteer to isolated regiments, where they would lose their identity as Australians. Our troops, by their bravery and effective service, have shed lustre on the namne of Australia the world over, and though we can ill afford the loss of population, so long as the empire requires assistance, Australia will, I am certain, be ready to come to her aid, and the loss we shall suffer by our youth going abroad will be cheerfully borne. I contend, however, it is a very different matter to assist an individual to form an irregular corps of what we have good reason to believe may become virtually a police force. So far as I am aware, the Government have had no official notification from the Imperial authorities, either that transport has been arranged or any guarantee as to the equipment at Durban, or the payment of 5/per day; and whilst not doubting for one moment the good faith of the Marquis of Tullibardine, I consider that our Government should be fully satisfied on all these points before allowing any volunteers to proceed to South Africa to join his regiment.
     To sum up, let us render the home authorities every assistance, at whatever cost, so long as they need our help, but let us maintain the identity of our troops, and not encourage Australians in going piecemeal to join other regiments I understand that an additional 500 troops have been asked for by the Imperial authorities. I would suggest that those Australian Scotchmen who are willing to go should join this contingent rather than, separate themselves from their brother Australians -Yours, &c.


28 January 1901


      The 100 men now required by Colonel Creagh, recruiting officer for this corps, must be between 21 and 28 years of age, must be first-class riders, accustomed to rough bush life, and must be under 13st. weight.


30th January 1901


      Enrolment of volunteers for the troop to be raised by the Marquis of Tullibardine for service in South Africa was completed yesterday. Colonel Creagh found himself so embarrassed by the number of men offering that he yesterday decided to strike the names of all volunteers under 21 years of age, of whom there were a good number, off the list. Altogether about 700 men offered and the medical, riding, and shooting tests will be entered upon as soon as the Minister of Defence has fixed the dates, which he is expected to do today. Although the call for volunteers was made specially to Scotchmen, other nationalities are represented in Colonel Creagh's list. In selecting the troops preferenece will be given to Scotchmen and those of Scotch descent, provided the advantage of birth is accompanied by skill in riding and shooting.
      The decision of the minister, that the troops should proceed to South Africa in the steamer Orient, in company with the Victorian fifth contingent, is not received with favour by the Tullibardine volunteers. It is urged against the proposed arrangement that, as the members of the Scottish Horse will not be sworn in until they reached Durban, there would be danger to disipline in forcing them to travel with troops already under service conditions, while it is also pointed out that the voyage of the Orient to Cape Town would be lengthened by a week if she were required to call at Durban to the land the Marquis of Tullibardine's troops. Yesterday some of the volunteers averred they would refuse to go rather than travel with the fifth contingent. Representations are to be made to the Minister on the subject, with the view of securing separate transport.


31th January 1901


      Colonel Creagh desires country residents to note no further offers can be received for service with the Marquis of Tullibardine's Scottish Horse, and that therefore, it is useless to forward applications for enrolment. Volunteers who have been enrolled will be required to present themselves for medical examination early next week, but the Minister has not not yet fixed the day. It is considered probable that Colonel Creagh, who has had so much to do with enrolling the troops, will accompany them to South Africa as officer in command.
      A deputation from those who have taken an active interest in the request of the Marquis of Tullibardine for 200 Australians to join the Scottish Horse he is raising in Natal, and hope to be among the men picked, waited on the Minister of Defence yesterday, and urged that they should be sent to South Africa in a separate vessel. It was also suggested that Colonel Creagh, who has taken a prominent part in the matter, should be sent to Natal in charge of the men.
      Mr. McCulloch replied that, as the War Office was to pay the passages of the men, and as the home authorities had placed the s.s. Orient at the disposal of the Victorian Government for the conveyance of all the Victorian troops, the men selected for the Marquis's Scottish Horse would have to proceed to South Africa in that transport. He added that it had been arranged that Colonel Otter should have charge of all the men while on the transport.


2nd February 1901


      Candidates for Tullibardine's Corps of Scottish Horse for South Africa, who have given in their names to Colonel Creagh, of Hopetoun-chambers, Elizabeth-street, are asked to attend at the Victoria Barracks on Thursday, 7th February, at 10 o'clock a.m. for medical examination, and testing in riding and shooting. Candidates must be Scotch, or of Scottish descent, and unmarried. No married men will be taken. Candidates must distinctly understand that they have to present themselves for examination at their own expense, and, if rejected, have to return at their own expense. They receive neither pay nor equipment until they arrive in South Africa, and are enrolled there. The Victorian Government undertakes no expense or responsibility in connection with the matter, beyond that of passing them through the medical, riding, and shooting tests.
      Arrangements have, however, been made for the free passage of those selected on board the transport Orient. The date of departure has not yet been fixed, but it will probably be within 10 days or a fortnight.
      Owing to the limited accomodation on the Orient, after providing for the Victorian fifth and sixth contingments, of 1000 men, it has been found necessary to reduce the number of the Tullibardine troops from 250 to 200. Nearly a thousand names were sent in, and from these Colonel Creagh has selected the 312 given below. Colonel Creagh desires applicants to distinctly understand that unless their names appear in the appended list it will be useless for them to present themselves at the barracks on Thursday.
      Anderson J. A., 11 Perry-street, Northcote; .... Click for the FULL LIST


5 February 1901


      Colonel Creagh, who is organising the Scottish Horse for the Marquis of Tullibardine, visited the Victoria Barracks yesterday, and interviewed Major Parnell, to arrange about the formal enrolment of men. It was decided that the enlistment of volunteers should take place at the barracks at 10 o'clock next Thursday morning, when the medical examination and the riding and shooting tests will be held ...


7 February 1901


      The contingent of 250 men who are proceeding to South Africa to join the Marquis of Tullibardine's regiment go without horses, but the Defence Department has cabled to the Marquis of Tullibardine, advising him that, if required, the department can supply him with 500 good horses within a month.


9 February 1901


      So great was the rush of applicants for the last two contingents that every effort was made to avert a repitition in the case of the Marquis of Tullibardine's Horse. Events have proved that the mark has been somewhat overstepped, and in place of having four or five volunteers for every vacanacy the contingent is still some 50 men short. The whole of the applicants chosen by Colonel Creagh, the local representative of the Marquis of Tullibardine, have been called upon, but many did not attend, and after the various tests were applied the contingent remained uncompleted. On Thursday a considerable number of those expected failed to attend at the barracks, and yesterday, when it had been arranged to take those volunteers residing in the country districts, only about 80 presented themselves. The shooting and riding tests were completed yesterday afternoon, and a number of the applicants failed to qualify in these, further reducing the number. There is, of course, no difficulty whatever regarding the filling of the vacancies. When the last of the sixth contingent went into camp there were still 125 men who had been thrown out at in the final ballot. Nearly 30 of these men have already elected to join the Scottish Horse, and have been ordered into quarters in the square of Victoria Barracks, and it has been arranged that the rest of the overflow of 125 men shall be afforded an opportunity of following their example.
      Colonel Creagh has decided to continue in charge of the Scottish Horse and proceed with them by the R.M.S. Orient to South Africa.  §

21 May 1901


LONDON, May 19.

      A splendid tribute has been paid to the Scottish corps known as Tullabardine's Horse, a squadron of which was raised in Victoria, and left, under Colonel Creagh, with the Fifth Victorian Contingent in the Orient.
      The Marquis of Tullabardine, who commands the corps, writing from Middleburg to the Caledonian Society in London, under whose auspices the English members of the corps were raised, says in the course of his letter - "The Australians are the best set of calvary I have seen out here yet."  §

Transcriptions by J. Raymond, Brisbane, QLD., Australia - 2011

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